In order to see a business idea from its conception to its sustainable scalability as an established business, the core importance of networking can never be overemphasized. You cannot make it big in the business world if you tread alone & operate as an island. It’s advisable to involve oneself in events that revolve around the thrust of networking so as to promote sharing of ideas & collaboration. In this article I shall give a synopsis of some of the local platforms or initiatives that offer networking events for local businesses.
Harare Business Forum (HBF)
This is a business support organization that promotes businesses, economic activity & best practice. You can become their member by choosing from:
You get a membership number & card, a weekly HBF business report, free attendance to HBF events, 3 weekly adverts on their WhatsApp group, free advice & training.
You get a membership number & card, discounted rates for events, 6 weekly adverts on their WhatsApp group, a weekly business report, free advice & training.
You get a membership number & card, free attendance to events, weekly HBF business report, free advice & training, 15 weekly adverts on WhatsApp, business consultancy & services at discounted rates.
Membership number & card, free attendance, comprehensive weekly business report, free business coaching & training, business development at subsidized rates & 2 free adverts on TV & Radio per year.
Honorary board membership, number & card, free entry to events, comprehensive weekly business report, free advertising on all TV & Radio programs, direct referrals & 2 free in-person interviews on TV & Radio per year.
They hold events every Friday at Batanai Gardens (Cnr Jason Moyo/First Street in Harare) from 6pm to 7pm. These events are broadcast live on Star FM; business techniques, strategies, insights on current market trends etc, get to be taught at these events. They invite top government officials or budding/established business people to give first-hand accounts on various issues.
They also offer consulting, connect, trainings, outreaches, motivations, meetings, socials & advertising services. You can contact them at www.hararebusinessforum.co.zw, firstname.lastname@example.org, WhatsApp/Call +263735686603 or visit their offices on the First Floor at Batanai Gardens in Harare.
It’s a grouping of advisors, mentors & communities, a platform that congregates entrepreneurs so that they graduate their ideas into sustainable businesses.
They hold monthly events such as Pitch Night where ideas are shared & power talks are held. Admission is free & the dates and venues usually get advised on their Facebook page. They also hold Blockchain Meetups at NUST in Bulawayo; the thrust is to create a grouping of experts in blockchain so as to innovate & create employment. Every Friday they hold Startup Conclaves which are unstructured social meetups. Quarterly, they hold Demo Days where startups get to showcase their innovations to invited media partners & investors. Every November they hold The Techfest which is a multi-day & multi-venue event where local technologies & innovations are showcased.
They have a city space in Bulawayo which houses resources, communities, working space, a boardroom, meeting rooms & event spaces. They also have a campus space that provides working space for their members based at NUST.
They have various types of communities to choose from:
Community Hacks – innovators on world problems
Velociti – founders turning startups into businesses
Girls 2.0 – female founders & entrepreneurs in technology
HackShack Creatives – hardware builders by Africans in the African context
DevShop – coders solving world problems
Betas – product validators & testers
Runners – on-the-go services for food, energy & laundry
Shelfers – book reading club for entrepreneurs
Contact them on www.techvillage.org.zw or www.fb.com/techvillagezw. Alternatively, you can email at email@example.com or call +263972255/+263731222222. You can visit their offices on 2nd floor at Bambanani Centre (Cnr Jason Moyo & 9th Avenue in Bulawayo).
This is a platform developed by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs for guidance & startup collaboration. They also have a startup support network & a mentors platform. They usually post their events details on their Facebook page.
They usually hold Meet & Greet events for startup founders; the upcoming one is on Friday 18 January from 6pm to 9pm at their offices in Harare (Cnr Julius Nyerere/Sam Mujoma Avenue). RSVP: +263718924393, admission is free.
You can download their app which is available on Google Play Store. You can also find articles on various issues on their website; they also offer professional help & assistance in raising capital.
You can choose from different membership types as follows:
This will get you free or discounted access to events, discounted rates for using their meetings rooms, 1 hour free boardroom access per month plus Wi-Fi, tea & coffee to compliment.
Gets you free or discounted access to events, discounted rates for meeting rooms, 1 hour free boardroom access per month, access to the virtual collaboration platform plus Wi-Fi, tea & coffee to compliment.
You get virtual membership via their various platforms, free or discounted access to events & discounted rates for meeting rooms.
They also offer venue hire for their glass boardroom (capacity of 10), the veranda area (capacity of 50) & the big boardroom (capacity of 25).
They usually hold Founders Live events where people get a chance to do a 99-second pitch and the audience is the judge. The upcoming on is on 18 January from 6pm to 9pm at their offices at 194 Baines Avenue.
Current programs include Communities for Change, First Global Zimbabwe Robotics, Facebook Developers Circle, Bridges for Enterprises & Founders Live Harare.
Two things to mention in conclusion, I encourage businesses to leverage on such platforms and events & secondly, I urge people to start thinking more around the arena of business networking events. There is definitely a need for more players that can build such platforms as the ones mentioned here in.